Jan Paul BUSCHDORF
email@example.comGrowth, Development and Metabolism Programme
The research in the Molecular Neuroscience lab headed by Michael Meaney focuses on the molecular mechanisms through which early development influences feeding behavior, the occurrence of obesity and other diseases as well as emotional/cognitive function. With special focus on the brain, our studies examine the developmental regulation of gene transcription using molecular and biochemical approaches, including methods to analyze epigenetic modifications of chromatin, protein/DNA as well as protein/protein interactions and gene expression.
Analysis of intrauterine growth restriction
Low birth weight is associated with an increased risk for the development of type 2-diabetes, cardiovascular diseases and obesity in humans when provided with ample calorie later in life. Experimentally, low birth weight can be reproduced by intrauterine growth restriction in various animal models. Offspring from mothers which receive less food during pregnancy as compared to offspring from mothers with no food restriction become overweight and develop symptoms of the above mentioned diseases postnatally. This project is designed to analyze changes in gene expression, promoter modifications and brain circuitry during early development that renders the organism more susceptible for ill health.
Analyses of brain development in low birth weight subjects
Studies in humans as well as different animal models have shown that low birth weight is linked to a smaller hippocampal volume as compared to normal birth weight. The project is focused on the molecular mechanism through which low birth weight influences brain development, especially in the hippocampus.
1st exon usage of the glucocorticoid receptor gene and analyses of the epigenetic state of its associated promotersGlucocorticoids play an important role in the endocrine stress response. In addition, they also have metabolic effects such as stimulating appetite, and they influence emotional/cognitive function. The human glucocorticoid receptor gene consists of nine alternative first exons and nine protein-coding exons. This projects aims to describe the usage of the alternative first exons and the epigenetic state of their associated promoters in different parts of the brain that control feeding behavior and emotional/cognitive function.
Prof Michael Meaney